The long-awaited Johnson County restaurant from Char Bar co-owner Mitch Benjamin is finally open. Meat Mitch (3620 W. 95th St., Leawood) took over a massive six thousand-square-foot spot on the northern side of Ranchmart. Benjamin, who has promoted his projects by courting attention from Barstool Sports boss Dave Portnoy and former Royals great George Brett, told the Kansas City Star that the new spot is “the next step of the evolution of my brand.” The new restaurant already has hats, hoodies and branded Yeti tumblers for sale, along with “sixteen-hour smoked Black Angus hand-carved brisket” and vegetarian smoked jackfruit.
Mornings got a little sweeter in south Overland Park with the mid-January opening of Daylight Donuts (14852 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park). Daylight is nut-free, meaning you can buy a dozen doughnuts for the school or office where someone has an allergy. It’s also making unique, letter-shaped frosted doughnuts so you can deliver a message in delicious fried dough. There’s also a very impressive tea menu for a doughnut shop, including matcha lattes and masala.
The Northland has new New York pizza with a pedigree thanks to Pizza Tascio (1111 Burlington St., North Kansas City). The project comes from Erik Borger, who is well-known to Kansas City pizza geeks as the founder of Il Lazzarone, home of some of the city’s top Neapolitan pies.
Borger grew up in the Hudson Valley, just north of New York City, before moving to St. Joseph, Missouri, where Borger’s father was in pharmaceuticals.
“Being from New York, pizza has always been the highlight of life,” Borger says. “We could get the local pizzeria’s pizza instead of school lunch in elementary school. It was just ingrained in life. Coming out here, it was a culture shock.”
Pizza Tascio pies are a return to Borger’s roots—and his chance to perfect a new style. “I never mastered New York-style, I’m going to be honest with you,” he says.
You can see Borger’s pizza-nerd bonafide in the details like the tomatoes he’s using—California-grown
San Marzanos from a farm run by Phoenix pizza king Chris Bianco.
“Going into this, I just wanted to make the best New York pizza anywhere,” Borger says. “I spent a year on the crust. I went through every hydration level. I went through every different flour on the market, every different tomato on the market. Honestly, I couldn’t find anything better than the Bianco.”
Buck Starts Here
The old Plowboys barbecue space in Johnson County (6737 W. 75th St., Overland Park) won’t sit empty for long. Buck Tui barbecue will be opening on 75th Street “soon,” owner Teddy Liberda announced via Instagram.
Plowboys barbecue announced its closure around the start of the new year, joining Brookside Poultry as one of two high-profile closures at the end of the year. Owner Todd Johns told Kansas City that “staffing has been a big challenge” during the pandemic and that closing his third local spot (there’s also one in Nebraska) made sense in order to keep quality high.
Meanwhile, Buck Tui’s opening at another location, just south of the I-435 loop, has been long delayed by what the post described as “crazy pandemic setbacks.”
Buck Tui is a Thai-influenced barbecue spot that landed at number nine on our list of the ten best in the city back in October.